Midway through season Syracuse 2 wins from bowl-eligibility

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Halfway through his third season at Syracuse, coach Dino Babers is closer to that magic number of six wins than he’s ever been at this juncture with the Orange.

Despite a two-game losing streak — to Atlantic Coast Conference foes Clemson and Pittsburgh (in overtime) — Syracuse (4-2, 1-2 ACC) has demonstrated its strides as it enjoys a bye week at the right time.

“I think the first half of the season has had its ups and downs, but I’m not down on this football team,” Babers said. “I mean, you can pick and choose your moments, but you’re talking about a 4-2 football team. Both the games they lost they were winning in the fourth quarter. Now, that part is disappointing.”

The Orange are on a bye week and will resume play next week at home against North Carolina (1-1, 1-3). The break comes at a good time, with hard-hitting safety Antwan Cordy and tight end Ravian Pierce nursing injuries.

“The main thing we need to do during this break is we just have to get healthy,” Babers said. “The guys that do play play a lot and you’ve got to let them get their nicks and bumps healed if you’re going to have an opportunity to finish the season strong.”

November has been the team’s Achilles heel of late. Quarterback Eric Dungey has missed the final three games in each of the last three seasons and the Orange have won just one of 12 November games in that span.

One problem has manifested itself in the two losses so far this year — the defence hasn’t been able to stop the run despite its stout front four of Chris Slayton, Alton Robinson, Kendall Coleman, and McKinley Williams. The Orange are tied for the national lead with Clemson and Miami at 3.33 …read more

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